Spotify boss Daniel Ek has angered users after spending €100 million on AI tech “defence tech” company Helsing.
The British-German company will be selling their intellectual product firstly to the French, British and German militaries. In exchange for his investment, which arrived through his €1 billion Prima Materia investment company, Ek has also been appointed to the company’s board.
Helsing notes they plan to use their “world-leading AI technology for defence and national security” to provide “information advantage for democratic governments” and “keep liberal democracies from harm”.
Understandably, Spotify users are unhappy with their monthly subscription fee being funnelled into a private investment fund helping support militaries.
Resident Advisor cites software data company Pitchbrook, and they say Helsing will: “Develop software comprising artificial intelligence to integrate data from infrared, video, sonar and radio frequencies, gleaned from sensors on military vehicles, to create a real-time picture of battlefields, enabling clients to execute faster and more reliable decisions.”
Furthermore, RA said, “The Twitter response to Ek’s post and found some 80 per cent of its respondents weren’t happy with the decision, while 95 per cent of retweets about the news were also negative”.
Twitter user Darren Sangita posted, “#BoycottSPOTIFY now! Cancel your subscription today. Artists and music lovers must not support the military AI industry! Register your anger at the #potify involvement in sponsorship of Arms Corporations. This is so vile. Music is NOT War! Just wrong on every level.”
Ek is yet to respond to comments criticising his investment with Helsing.